Watershed district celebrates 50 years with ‘make a splash’ events

Kayakers on Minnehaha Creek. (Photo courtesy of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District)
Kayaker on Minnehaha Creek. (Photo courtesy of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District)

Events include a kids fishing clinic on May 6 at Lord Fletcher’s

By Nicole Brodzik
The Laker

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has helped keep Minnesota waters clean for 50 years. To celebrate, the district will host a number of events through the end of the year all over the metro. District officials are calling the series, “Jump in and make a splash.”

“This is an opportunity to engage with people across the watershed,” said Telly Mamayek, the watershed district’s communications director. “Our goal is to get people involved with their lakes, streams, trees and wildlife and foster that connection.”

The first event will be April 29 at Pamela Park in Edina for storm drain stenciling. Other events will be in St. Louis Park, Carver Park, Minneapolis, Minnetrista and on Lake Minnetonka. Events will cover everything from fishing clinics to lake clean ups to seed collection events.

The final event will be the district’s Sunset Celebration at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. The celebration will feature food, drinks, live music and information on how Minnesota’s water ecosystems. People who attend at least five of the nine scheduled events will get into the 50th anniversary celebration for half off the $40 ticket price and those who attend all nine get in to the celebration for free.

“We’re encouraged by the continued awareness of water quality issues,” Mamayek said. “People are understanding that it takes people to make it happen. We’re really seeing people connect with their local ecosystems, which helps them feel obligated to do their part to keep it healthy.”

The first Lake Minnetonka event will be a kids fishing clinic 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, May 6 at Lord Fletcher’s. Other local projects include a shoreline garden tour in July on Lake Minnetonka and a prairie seed collection in September at the Six Mile Marsh Prairie in Minnetrista.

Mamayek said people don’t always realize how the watershed district is working for them, but said that once they do, people tend to want to get involved.

“We’re treating run off, restoring lake and stream areas, creating and cleaning up trails near the lakes, creating new canoe launches — you name it,” she said. “When people see us out there doing things that help them enjoy their environment, they want to help.”

And it’s not always in big ways. Mamayek said that helping the watershed area can be as simple as minimizing the amount of salt used in the winter or how much fertilizer used in the summer or redirecting gutter runoff to the lawn instead of sending directly to the storm water system, which flows untreated in rivers, lakes and streams.

For more information on the watershed district or this year’s “Jump in and make a splash” events, visit minnehahacreek.org.

Contact Nicole Brodzik at [email protected]